By Sarah Begley
March 3, 2015

If you’re looking for Oscar bait, taking a starring role in a biopic is usually a safe bet — even if the subject is one of the most controversial men alive. Joseph Gordon-Levitt likely had this in mind when he signed on for Snowden, directed by Oliver Stone and slated for a December release. The Inception actor released the first photograph of himself in costume on Facebook Tuesday, and if appearances are everything, it looks like the casting director made the right choice.

In his post, Gordon-Levitt said he was surprised when he learned Edward Snowden had enlisted in the army in 2004, but was discharged after breaking both legs in basic training. “After that,” the actor wrote, “he was still determined to serve his country (love him or hate him, you gotta admit the guy’s strong-willed) and so he ended up getting a job at the CIA, which is where his career in Intelligence began.”

The real-life Snowden’s lawyer announced Tuesday that the former NSA contractor is considering a return to the U.S. if he’s guaranteed a fair trial. But JGL is busy in the fictional Snowden’s early days, writing, “I’m just honored and excited to be doing a soldier sequence with Oliver. I keep saying to myself: “f-, this guy directed Platoon!”

Read next: Watch Joseph Gordon-Levitt Explain Why He’s a Feminist in a Truly Thoughtful Way

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